The new revisions to the Car Park Label Scheme for persons with disabilities have come under fire from concerned citizens.
Under the new rules, only those with bulky mobility aids will be eligible to park in disability carpark lots. This includes those who use wheelchairs and walking frames but excludes those who use crutches and quad sticks who are currently eligible for the scheme.
Powerlifting paralympian Kalai Vanen excoriated the new rules. The international and national gold-medalist lost his left leg when he was 22 after doctors had to amputate it due to a tumour. He relies on the use of special prosthetics and as such, may not be eligible to park in specially demarcated car lots for persons using mobility aids, under the new rules.
In a post on his Facebook page, Kalai Vanen harshly criticised the policy changes and the well-paid policymakers who are enforcing the changes as “a bunch of idiots.”
“People with crutches and quad sticks no longer eligible for the class 1 parking label when the the new rules set in? An example of, how policy changes are made by a bunch of idiots who have no understanding of the real impact to those affected. And we pay them well, from tax payer’s money. Inclusive society, my foot!”
Kalai Vanen’s daughter, Tanisha Vanen, also thoroughly disparaged the new scheme, calling it shameful:
“Firstly, these policy makers should get themselves a pair of crutches, try parking next to a car that’s within close proximity, and try to see if they can get out without issue. Then pause for a second, and reflect on how physically tiring it is to get from the car to their destination.
“Secondly, if there is an increased demand for these class 1 and 2 stickers over the years, how about regularly checking to make sure unauthorized vehicles are not parked in these spots so much of the time, so authorized drivers can actually park. And what about allocating a few more parking spaces for drivers with physical and other disabilities. Inclusive society? This is far from it. Such a shame.”
Janet Puah who contracted polio at the age of ten and moves around with the aid of special prosthetics and elbow crutches is in a similar situation.
Janet, who is employed with the Singapore Kindness Movement, said that she anticipates facing difficulties if she will no longer be eligible to park in special parking lots. She added that it is ironic that she will not be able to park in disability lots with the car she bought under the LTA’s disabled persons scheme:
“I bought the car under the LTA’s disabled persons scheme with the exemption of the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) and the Certificate of Entitlement (COE). And it is ironic under the scheme that I will no longer be able to park in an accessible parking lot because I have a pair of elbow crutches with me.
“I drive to and from work everyday and travel to various parts of Singapore as I am unable to get around in a train or bus. When I park in the handicap lot, the space is wider and it is easier for me to manoeuvre in and out of the car. From past experience, when a normal driver parks close to me, I am not able to even get out of the car. So the handicap lot is very good for people like us.
“Whenever it rains and I can’t carry an umbrella, if I were to park further away, I have to walk a bit more in the rain. With a disability for so many years and losing strength needed to cope with my pain of disability, I need extra stamina to be able to move around. If I were to park further away, I have to walk more and it is physically draining.”
Janet also echoed Tanisha’s sentiment that policymakers should put themselves in the shoes of those who need to use less bulky mobility aids but still need the ease of disability car lots:
“Just thinking aloud who did the government consult on such an important matter like this. They should try walking on crutches for a day to feel how it is like for a genuine and truly disabled person to struggle and trying to get on with life.”
The new rules are set to be enforced from November. Persons with disabilities who qualify under the current scheme may continue to park in disability lots until the revised scheme goes into effect.